Islamabad, Kabul urged to remove bottlenecks in way of Pak-Afghan trade

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Traders and exporters of Pakistan and Afghanistan via a joint video link conference have identified the bottlenecks in way of Pak-Afghan the mutual trade, transit trade and export and what they termed the complicated regulations and procedures, strict policies and cumbersome goods clearing process main reason behind the declining mutual trade volume between the two countries.

“Paying not heed toward resolution of issues of the business community on both sides of the border is not a good interest of the economy of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Regulatory duties, policies, unnecessary and double taxation should be revised and abolished, the Pak-Afghan traders said while speaking a joint video link conference organsied by USAID – Pakistan Regional Economic Integration Activity (PREIA) in collaboration with the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) here at the chamber house on Thursday.

The participants called upon Islamabad and Kabul to make joint initiatives and efforts to remove hurdles in the way of bilateral trade, transit trade and export between the two neighbouring countries. They opined that a lot of potential exists in the Afghanistan market, which should be availed to meet the mutual trade target of $5billion.

The joint conference was chaired by SCCI president Engineer Maqsood Anwar Pervaiz while the chamber senior vice president, Shahid Hussain performed duties as moderator.

Besides, the SCCI, Pak-Afghan Joint Chambers of Commerce and Industry former senior vice president, and Frontier Customs Agents Association president, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, PAJCCI Pakistan chapter Chairman, Zubair Motiwala, Secretary General Ms Faiza, PAJCCI Afghanistan chapter chairman, Khan Jan Alokozay, Younis Mohmand from Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representative of Kandahar chamber, Haji Daud, former FPCCI president Engr Daroo Khan Achakzai, representative of PREIA, Salman Farooq, office bearers of Chaman, Kabul, Jalalabad and Kahandar chambers of Commerce and Industry, Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pak-Afghan transporters, along with representatives of business community from both the countries were pointed out elaborate manner about the hindrance in way of the mutual Pak-Afghan trade, transit trade and export.

The speakers said the bilateral trade volume had declined exponentially because of complicated regulations and procedures, strict policies and cumbersome goods clearing process at ports and borders that has heightened problems of traders, exporters and importers on both side of the borders “If the policies couldn’t review by Islamabad and Kabul, the bilateral trade volume currently stood at less than $ 1billion, it would be completely end,”

The Pak-Afghan traders want to separate trade from politics and need to make vigorous and long lasting efforts to address their grievances and issues on an emergent basis. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, they said the trades on both sides of the border have inflicted colossal monetary losses, demanding special relief packages in terms of waiver on regulatory duties and customs levies for exporters and importers.

The speakers demand to review the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement and remove apprehension of traders from both sides and sign a new agreement in consultation with the business community.

The participants about snail process of goods trucks/containers clearing at Torkham, Chaman, Ghulam Khan, Kharlachi borders as well as scanning process at Karachi port due to lack of adequate and sufficient facilities because of which exporters are being charged with additional demurrage and detention charges.

At the end of the meeting, the participants have fully agreed with suggestions and recommendations and decided to forward them through USAID PRIEA to the both governments, concerned ministries, departments in order to implement them with letter and spirit to resolve traders’ issues on both sides of the borders amicably.

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